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State's witness denies Facebook slur and dog dirt attack against ex

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Peter Butterly was chased down and shot dead in March 2013

Peter Butterly was chased down and shot dead in March 2013

Peter Butterly was chased down and shot dead in March 2013

A former murder accused turned State's witness has denied uploading a picture of his ex-girlfriend online with a quote saying, "Be careful, this girl has Hep C", as well as smearing dog excrement on her door.

However, the witness agreed he had previously given evidence of being a "dishonest man" who would be prepared to "lie through his teeth".

Protected witness David Cullen was being cross-examined for a second day at the Special Criminal Court trial of Kevin Braney (44), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering dissident republican Peter Butterly nearly six years ago.

Devious

The court has heard that Cullen was admitted on the Witness Protection Programme (WPP) in April 2015 and relocated from prison to a host country a few months later.

He spent Tuesday describing to the court his role in the shooting of Mr Butterly, which was to dispose of a gun in the grounds of Gormanston College.

Under cross-examination by Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Braney, Cullen agreed that he was desperate to avoid a conviction for murder and agreed he had previously given evidence that he was a devious, dishonest person, who would be prepared to "lie through his teeth".

Cullen further agreed with Mr Condon that he always "came first" and he was not concerned with the consequences that arose for others as a result of the lies he told.

The key prosecution witness acknowledged that he had a history of criminal convictions, some for acting dishonestly.

Cullen agreed with counsel that it was no secret that he told gardai a "pack of lies" when he was first interviewed by them following Mr Butterly's murder.

"I probably would have talked to gardai about anything other than Peter Butterly's murder," he said.

Mr Condon put it to the witness that his client, Mr Braney, did not go to his apartment on March 5.

"He certainly did," said Cullen.

In Cullen's evidence-in-chief, he testified that he remembered Mr Braney coming to his house with other men on the evening before the shooting and saying: "Make sure this is done right and he doesn't get away."

Cullen agreed with Mr Condon that he has got some considerable benefits from being on the WPP, such as not being held responsible for his actions in relation to a former girlfriend.

The lawyer put it to the witness that this woman alleges that Cullen uploaded an image of her on to Facebook last year with the caption, "Be careful, this woman has Hep C" and it had been recorded that Cullen admitted to the woman that he had done this. In reply, Cullen said he had not uploaded an image of his ex-girlfriend, adding: "I haven't been charged with anything."

Mr Condon told the court that a €500 contribution appeared to be made to a charity on Cullen's behalf for stalking the woman and alleged the only reason he was not charged was because he is on the WPP.

The lawyer put it to Cullen that this woman had also found "dog s**t" smeared on her door and it was alleged that Cullen sent her an email getting her to retract her statement.

"I never did anything like that. If I did I would have been arrested," he said.

The witness agreed that he received a "warning document" about his behaviour from the host agency but denied getting a second one.

Murder accused Mr Braney also denies possession of a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol with intent to commit murder and possession of seven rounds of 9mm ammunition on March 5, 2013.

Mr Butterly, a father-of-two, was chased and shot dead outside The Huntsman Inn in Gormanston on March 6, 2013.

Cullen was originally charged with Mr Butterly's murder but he subsequently turned State's witness more than a year after the shooting and this murder charge was dropped.

In July 2014, Cullen was sentenced to seven years in prison, with three-and-a-half years suspended, after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm.

The trial continues.


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